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Turning AAs Into A Competitive Advantage

By Linda Richardson

We surveyed 160 Administrative Assistants and Executive Secretaries and asked them to identify the key things salespeople could do to gain their support in reaching their bosses.

The number one thing they identified was for the salesperson to send an e-mail to their manager in which the salesperson praises them. Second best would then be for the Salesperson to leave a voice mail. Many said they check their boss's e-mails and voice mails, and anything that includes praise for them, they make sure their managers see (or hear) and do not get deleted.

Other tips to help you gain an in with AAs:

Gain the AA's Interest

Be prepared with a tailored interest-gaining statement that shows a benefit to the manager, the organization, and/or him/her.

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Establish a Relationship

Be respectful, friendly - get the AA's name and use it. Never imply he/she is not at the right level to understand your message.

Be appreciative. Say thank you.

Never be impatient or demanding.

Ask for the AA's Help

Ask for the AA's guidance regarding the best time, etc., to get to his/her manager.

Ask for Information

Ask about needs, current providers, business in general - you might be surprised how much AA's are willing to share.

Ask for the e-mail address of his/her manager and his/hers, too, so you may copy him/her.

If Necessary, Circumvent

Vary your calling times. Try early morning, lunchtime, and after end of business hours.

Be Persistent

Follow up. Follow up. Follow up.

We have all seen situations in which an AA champions and orchestrates callbacks. You can be the person he/she helps. Like all of us, AAs appreciate recognition. Praise them to help win them over and give credit where credit is due.

About the Author:
Linda Richardson: President and CEO of Richardson, training consultants to corporations, banks, and investment banks globally. Richardson has 110 professionals, 15 regional offices in the United States, and presence in London, Australia, Singapore, Latin America, and Asia. Clients of Richardson include KPMG, Federal Express, General Mills, Tiffany & Co., Dell Computer, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Citibank, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, and Kinko’s. Visit http://www.Richardson.com.

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